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Nikolai Sorensen’s segment clocks

26 Aug 2015

Designer Nikolai Sorensen has taken a simple product that’s as old as time and given it a simple yet stylish makeover.

A plywood dodecagon with slices of washed colour, each clock is much more than a timekeeper. It’s like the segments of a cleanly sliced orange – made more so when Nikolai uses a wash of Resene Clementine Orange from the Resene Karen Walker Paints collection. The other clocks shown here use Resene Morning Glory (blue) and Resene Sublime (lime).

Nikolai majored in product design at AUT University, and worked part-time at design store Essenze at its (now closed) Parnell store. Surrounded by works of top New Zealand artists, Nikolai noticed a gap in the market for functional wall art.

Not long after, Nikolai’s segment clocks caught the eye of AUT University peer Mike Grobelny. They collaborated on product design and in 2012 started furniture design company Trestle Union. Their pieces are affordable and practical, but still stylish: they include sturdy trestle legs with coloured ropes and hardwearing trestle tops made with functionality in mind.

“I found at my age that I wanted quality design pieces but couldn’t afford them,” says Nikolai. “We decided to strip back all the fluff and frills of the design and materials to make it more affordable. When it comes down to it, Mike and I share the same design ethic: products need to have clean lines, be uncomplicated and, most importantly, be practical.”

The pair is constantly prototyping new ideas, and it takes months before they test it on the market. Their focus on lower priced product with higher design value has garnered Trestle Union a loyal following for those decorating home offices and small business fitouts.

But back to those beautiful clocks. Nikolai enjoys taking custom orders from clients, letting them choose their colours and amount of painted segments.

“I’m really big on co-creation – with their input, I hope to help our buyers feel more connected to our pieces.”

Clocks are available from The Object Room in Auckland and